April 19, 2016

The Sears Westly, a Home Built Everywhere

The Westly was a bungalow sold by Sears from 1912 to 1930 and was one of their most popular models. Can you see why?

Sears Westly.

With its original detailing, the Westly looks like a Swiss chalet. It has grouped wooden pillars, decorative railings, a balcony on the front dormer, an asymmetrical roof line, and exposed rafter tails under wide eaves.

Unfortunately, over time, many of the Westlys had those details unceremoniously removed. In many cases, the top balcony has been removed and the wide front porch has been enclosed. These changes turn the Westly into a bland single dormer bungalow.

In the catalogs, Sears succinctly stated that the Westly was: "Built everywhere. Every customer satisfied." They were right about that--a Westly can be found in almost every Chicago suburb. Today we'll feature five nice examples.

Western Springs

3917 Johnson, Western Springs. Photo from Realtor site.

The Westly was a center entry house. That cutout is not original. Photo from Realtor site.

A unique feature of the Westly is a corner fireplace in the dining room. Photo from Realtor site.

One of the Westly floor plans from the 1923 Modern Homes catalog. You can see the corner fireplace in the dining room. The Westly also had a first floor library/music room. 

The upstairs bedroom that shows the door that leads out to the sleeping porch. Photo from Realtor site.

 Downers Grove

1905 Curtiss, Downers Grove. This authenticated Westly has the original railings, pillars, and brackets. John Szydlowski took out a mortgage from Sears Roebuck for $5000 in 1925.


28W355 Main Street, Warrenville. Photo from Realtor site.


11960 S Keeler, Alsip. Photo from Realtor site.


5919 W. Elm St., Berkeley. This house is an authentic Sears Westly that was verified from stamped lumber. Photo courtesy of Jan and Greg Montalbano.

We don't know who the architect of the Westly was. The model may have been based on a farmhouse designed by Gustav Stickley.

Stickley's farmhouse, featured in the March 1909 edition of The Craftsman.


SearsHouseSeeker said...

Absolutely wonderful examples. I had never seen the interior of a Westly before now -- just wonderful! We certainly do seem to find them in every corner of the country.
I also was unaware of the Stickley farmhouse it so resembles.


Wow! I just found your blog, I'm in love! But I must say I think there a a lot more homes in small Western Springs that are kit homes! I've learned so much from your blog, I've now determined that I am an expert ;) and now more than ever I think I need one!!! (Now on to convincing my husband of the same)

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

Hi, Ms. Mayor! There are more Sears homes in Western Springs. I just haven't had a chance to take photos. If you want to help me out, I will be glad to give you photo credit. Just email me at lara@sears-homes.com

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